November 7, 2017
Giving SMEs the tools they need to succeed
The SME sector – defined as businesses who employ up to 250 employees – is the engine room of the UK economy. It holds the key to much of our future economic prosperity. There are over five million SMEs in the UK compared to, amazingly, only 6,000 businesses which employ more than 250 employees. In addition to the massive SME sector, we are also now seeing a rise in the number of freelance and contract workers working in what has been dubbed the gig economy. Currently in the UK there are over one million individuals working in the gig economy. Importantly, it seems that working in the SME sector is becoming attractive to younger people. We learn from recent research that 47% of Millennials think that SMEs are the ideal size of business for which to work. It seems that Millennials are looking for the flexibility and opportunities to develop their own personality and to express themselves that they feel many larger corporations can no longer offer.
Clearly it is important that we ensure business owners, and those working in the ever-growing SME sector develop high performance habits that help provide a much-needed boost to the productivity of the UK, which is now lagging behind many other developed countries.
However, there are a number of challenges in providing capabilities training for the SME sector, not least the size of many businesses in this sector. For instance, 72% of all the UK’s SMEs employ no more than nine people, with 90% of UK’s SMEs having a turnover of less than £1 million. Not surprisingly, these smaller SMEs have limited budgets for training and are not always able to free up individuals for training programmes.
The good news, though, is that in many of the key areas where SMEs would benefit from training, highly effective online training methods are available. Techniques that were once the preserve of big companies and the top management consultants can now be easily applied to boost capabilities in the SME sector.
In response to the challenge of enhancing capabilities in the SME sector, DVL Smith – with more than 25 years’ experience of working with major global organisations – has set up an Excellence Tools division. The aim is to translate DVL Smith’s extensive experience of undertaking research for large corporations into a series of easy to follow step-by-step, low-cost tools that SMEs can use to make their businesses more customer-centric and push up their chances of survival and success.
The Excellence Tools programme – The Start-up Success Blueprint – operates on three levels. Firstly, it focuses on the key business issues that need addressing. Secondly, it identifies the core high performance habits small business owners need, including operating with clarity, energy, and focus, plus being productive, having influencer skills and the courage to take action in relation to particular challenges. Thirdly, the programme focuses on particular consumer research techniques in areas that will help the small business grow survive. Thus, key to the effectiveness of the Start-up Success Blueprint programme is the fact that it focuses on solving key business challenges and building high performance capability, whilst also looking at how consumer research can help SMEs get it right.
The programme provides a series of practical step-by-step actions that are easy for even busy SMEs to follow. It is an action orientated, easy to follow, low-cost programme that helps small businesses to get to the next level. It looks at how to play where you are most likely to win, how to provide a differentiated offer, and how to develop a succinct brand message. It also looks at how to set the optimum price for a product/service and how to create a great customer experience. Throughout the programme, there are a series of tips about how to develop the success habits of the high-performance entrepreneur.